2008 release. A Hundred Million Suns is the fifth album, following 2006's multi-million-selling Eyes Open, from the Northern Irish Pop-Rock quintet. Recorded in Germany and Ireland with Garret "Jacknife" Lee (U2, Bloc Party, REM) once more at the helm, the album sees them exploring a somewhat rockier, although still decidedly radio-friendly, direction than on the introspective Eyes Open. As evidenced by the single 'Take Back The City', the band's knack for writing catchy Pop hooks remains intact.
The Snow Patrol we meet on A Hundred Million Suns
is a band facing the same dilemma that Coldplay met on 2008’s Viva la Vida
; having conquered the world with a rousing, melancholy brand of MOR indie, where now? On the surface, A Hundred Million Suns
seems to suggest, nothing especially new: producer Jacknife Lee, who first worked with the band on 2003's Final Straw
and went on to work with the likes of U2 and REM returns to the fold; and an opening brace of songs suggest that a successful formula--chiming guitars, gentle builds, and Gary Lightbody's quavering, tremulous vocal--persists. Still, “Take Back The City", a windswept, electronic-tinged rocker, rather does for this band what “Dakota" did for Stereophonics, proving that a spot of sleek, synthetic motorik is not beyond their grasp, and there's a new, bright optimism to Lightbody's lyrics that sets the likes of “The Planets Bend Between Us" in light relief to some of Snow Patrol's earlier work. If you want experiments, though, you'll have to wait until the closing “The Lightning Strike", a 16-minute track in three parts that investigates Phillip Glass-style minimalism and electronic beats with some aptitude. --Louis Pattison